Gov’t probate fees increase faces major setback

By Kieran Drew
In April 11, 2017
On News
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The government’s plan to introduce dramatic increases in probate fees has been struck a major blow, as MPs questioned whether it could be introduced without the consent of parliament.

Expected to come into effect in May, probate fees would increase from the current flat rate (£215 or £155 if using a solicitor) to be replaced with a banded structure where fees would increase in line with the estate.

This tiered structure, which starts at £50,000, means those with assets of over £1 million would have to pay probate fees of between £8,000 and £20,000.

The move was widely criticised when it was announced with many quick to label it a death tax in all but name. The policy could break the principle that all tax changes must go through parliament.

The changes which are due to come into effect next month, would force the policy to go through the House of Lords and the House of Commons which would certainly lead to a delay in its introduction.

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told the Times it would be difficult for the government to go ahead with the changes now.

‘This is very good news,’ he told the paper. ‘I think it would be very hard now for the government to proceed with these proposals. They always seemed to amount to a stealth tax.’

The increase in fees was going to be used to raise £300 million towards the courts and tribunal system.

The Ministry of Justice told the Times: ‘Our plans to introduce new probate fees remain unchanged. We will introduce a fairer system, meaning over half of estates pay nothing and over 90% pay less than £1,000. They will be considered in parliament after Easter and come into force as soon as possible.’

We will of course keep you updated as to whether this controversial new increase will come into effect.

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